v. drove (drōv), driv·en (drĭvən), driv·ing, drives
1. To push, propel, or press onward forcibly; urge forward: drove the horses into the corral.
2. To repulse or put to flight by force or influence: drove the attackers away; drove out any thought of failure.
3. To guide, control, or direct (a vehicle).
a. To convey or transport in a vehicle: drove the children to school.
b. To traverse in a vehicle: drive the freeways to work.
a. To supply the motive force or power to and cause to function: Steam drives the engine.
b. To cause or sustain, as if by supplying force or power: "The current merger mania is apparently driven by an urge ... to reduce risk or to exploit opportunities in a very rapidly changing business environment" (Peter Passell).
6. To compel or force to work, often excessively: "Every serious dancer is driven by notions of perfection—perfect expressiveness, perfect technique" (Susan Sontag).
7. To force into or from a particular act or state: Indecision drives me crazy.
8. To force to go through or penetrate: drove the stake into the ground.
9. To create or produce by penetrating forcibly: The nail drove a hole in the tire.
10. To carry through vigorously to a conclusion: drove home his point; drive a hard bargain.
a. Sports To throw, strike, or cast (a ball, for example) hard or rapidly.
b. Basketball To move with the ball directly through: drove the lane and scored.
c. Baseball To cause (a run or runner) to be scored by batting. Often used with in.
d. Football To advance the ball over (certain yardage) in plays from scrimmage.
a. To chase (game) into the open or into traps or nets.
b. To search (an area) for game in such a manner.
1. To move along or advance quickly: We could hear the trucks driving along the highway.
2. To rush, dash, or advance violently against an obstruction: The wind drove into my face.
a. To operate a vehicle, such as a car: How long has he been driving?
b. To go or be transported in a vehicle: We all got in the car and drove to the supermarket.
a. Sports To hit, throw, or impel a ball or other missile forcibly.
b. Basketball To move directly to the basket with the ball.
c. Football To advance the ball in plays from scrimmage.
5. To make an effort to reach or achieve an objective; aim.
1. The act of driving: took the car out for a drive after dinner.
2. A trip or journey in a vehicle: It's a long drive to Eau Claire from here.
3. Abbr. Dr. A road for automobiles and other vehicles.
a. The means or apparatus for transmitting motion or power to a machine or from one machine part to another.
b. The position or operating condition of such a mechanism: "He put his car into drive and started home" (Charles Baxter).
c. The means by which automotive power is applied to a roadway: four-wheel drive.
d. The means or apparatus for controlling and directing an automobile: right-hand drive.
5. Computers A device that reads data from and often writes data onto a storage medium, such as an optical disc or flash memory.
6. A strong organized effort to accomplish a purpose: a drive to finish the project before the deadline.
7. Energy, push, or aggressiveness: an executive with a lot of drive.
8. Psychology A strong motivating tendency or instinct related to self-preservation, reproduction, or aggression that prompts activity toward a particular end.
9. A massive, sustained military offensive.
a. Sports The act of hitting, knocking, or thrusting a ball very swiftly.
b. Sports The stroke or thrust by which a ball is driven: an awkward drive on the first tee that sent the ball into the woods.
c. Sports The ball or puck as it is propelled: The goalie stopped a hard drive in the opening minute.
d. Basketball The act of moving with the ball directly to the basket.
e. Football A series of downs in which the ball is advanced by the offensive team.
a. A rounding up and driving of livestock to new pastures or to market.
b. A gathering and driving of logs down a river.
c. The cattle or logs thus driven.
To mean to do or say: I don't understand what you're driving at.
[Middle English driven, from Old English drīfan; see dhreibh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.